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What is Horse Insurance?

You run a business raising and selling show horses. You own quite a few of them, and they are all gorgeous—and expensive! You want to make sure they’re protected with the right horse insurance. But what does horse insurance—otherwise referred to as equine insurance—actually cover? What does it cost to insure your horses? We lay out what you need to know about horse insurance in this guide. 

Who Needs Horse Insurance?

Horse insurance is often branded or paired with livestock insurance. Anyone who owns horses should consider insuring them, including, but not limited to:

  • A horse breeding company
  • Training facilities (i.e. riding instructors, horse trainer)
  • Horse farms and ranches
  • Private horse owners
  • Horse Clubs and Associations
  • Farriers

How Your Horse is Valued

The rate your horse is valued at can get complicated. Typically, a horse is valued at the price you purchased it at. So if you purchased the horse for $1,500, that would be its insured value. But the horse's value can increase. For example, you may be able to increase a horse's value with training. If they win awards at breed shows or open shows you can use that to justify and establish a higher value.

What does Equine Insurance Cover?

Insurance for horse owners should at least include a combination of major medical and mortality coverage. But there are a few other endorsements you can include in your insurance. We've listed some of the most important insurance coverages below.

Equine Mortality Insurance + Theft Insurance

You will want to look into equine mortality and theft coverage for your horses. It's similar to a life insurance policy for humans. Mortality insurance will provide coverage for your foals, yearlings, mares, stallions, and geldings of all breeds for the cost they are valued at. It will also cover your horse if it is stolen. It will insure your horse against death from any cause (much like your life insurance covers you against death). 

It must be noted that all insurance carriers will insure a horse up until the age of 14. Once they are 15 or older, policy premiums may increase and there will be more limits on what is covered. For example, major medical may still be covered, but a colic surgery may be excluded. Unfortunately, as a horse ages it deals with more health issues and an eventual death is expected.

In some cases, insurance companies will still cover a mortality claim when your horse has to be euthanized. But only if you’ve followed all recommendations from your vet and have made an effort to help your sick or injured horse heal. For example, Colic Surgery and the aftercare used to be accompanied by high mortality rates. However, now that the risks have been lowered with medical advances, you’re expected to go through with this procedure if it’s recommended. If a vet recommends it and you opt to put your horse down instead, the insurance company may not cover your claim.

Major Medical and Surgical

Major medical and surgical helps cover unexpected veterinary expenses for your horse. Such coverage is an endorsement and usually covers reasonable and customary veterinary, medical, and surgical care costs which are the result of illness, injury, or accident. Frequently, such policies include emergency transportation of the animal

NOTE: Major medical horse insurance is ONLY meant to cover unexpected illnesses or occurrences. When horse insurance policies renew, they can often exclude ongoing illnesses that a horse may have such as colic, arthritis, etc. because of the nature of the coverage. So whether or not you’ll receive any coverage for an ongoing illness varies between insurance providers. 

Other exclusions on these policies can include elective procedures that are not necessary for the horse’s well-being, procedures deemed as alternative medicine, or the cost of preventative care. 

Surgical Only Insurance Coverage

If you cannot afford full major medical equine insurance for your horse, some insurers will write a surgical only policy that will reimburse you in the event of an unexpected surgery. It only covers the medical expenses associated with the surgery, not room and board. 

Equine Accident and Illness Coverage

Most policies include an illness or accidental injury clause that provides coverage for the cost of veterinarian bills due to an unexpected accident or illness. It does not cover physical ‘wear-and-tear’ or lameness that comes with age

Full Loss of Use

What is 'full loss of use'? Full loss of use is an endorsement an insurance company can add to your equine insurance—if it’s also paired with major medical coverage. Full loss of use insures you against your horse becoming permanently unable to perform due to illness, disease, injury, or accident. Insurance companies will take into consideration the horse’s stated performance and will need relevant medical proof such as a full exam by a veterinarian, radiographs, flexion tests, and drug screening. 

NOTE: Full loss of use coverage is typically only for a partial amount of the insured value on the horse. It can be anywhere from 50% to the full value of the horse—but it typically means the insurance company takes ownership of the horse. If you wish to keep the horse, you’ll typically be charged a salvage price. 

Loss of use also extends to mares and stallions who become infertile due to an illness or an injury. This is often referred to as an Accident Sickness Disease (ASD) endorsement. Usually, this coverage is not available to stallions who are in their first breeding season, as they must be proven valuable in this area (by having semen collected and analyzed) in order for a loss to occur.

Care, Custody, & Control Coverage

Care, Custody, & Control coverage applies when you run a business where you board or otherwise handle a horse that you do not personally own. When they are in your ‘care, custody, & control’ you are responsible for them. You need this if you are boarding, training, hauling, exercising, or handling other horses for breeding. 

It is not something that would be covered by your general liability policy—which only applies to humans. A Care, Custody, & Control clause can be written into a general liability policy or be a standalone coverage.

How Much Will Equine Insurance Cost?

The cost of equine insurance policies varies depending on multiple factors, including:

  • The age of the horse(s): The older they are, the more likely it is you’ll pay a higher premium—or not be able to obtain coverage. 
  • How many horses you’re going to insure
  • The horse's value
  • Policy deductibles and insurance policy limits
  • The type of coverage you choose to include

Mortality insurance with comprehensive major medical coverage is going to be more expensive than a basic mortality insurance with only surgical coverage. Each individual insurance company may take other variables into account, but these are the most common. A policy for a horse valued at $1,500 with a $5,000 policy limit may average between $150–$250 per horse annually. 

Get a FREE Horse Insurance Quote

What is the best equine insurance company? Who offers the most comprehensive coverage for an affordable price? Who offers major medical, theft, mortality and colic surgery coverage? An experienced equine insurance agent can answer all of your questions and get you the coverage your horse deserves.

Insurance for a horse doesn't have to break the bank. Horse owners have options for insuring their horses with multiple insurance companies. To get a free quote for medical coverage for your horse—or horses—complete the form above to connect with an agent.

Related Articles: General Liability Insurance, Veterinarian Insurance

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